Last year – ok last month – I mentioned that I started

kicking around OS/2 on one of my workstations at home and found it still

relatively useful. I also mentioned how Serenity Systems had been working on a

licensed version of OS/2 called eComStation. I had read a lot about ECS on the

web, but hadn’t gotten a chance to use it. I figured there was no better time

than the present.

After checking out ECS at the eComStation Web site, the folks at

Serenity Systems and Mensys

provided me with a review copy. Longtime users of OS/2 would be impressed.

Serenity Systems has done a lot to improve the OS/2 experience. They’ve taken

the basic code from IBM and added many new and third party features such as the

SciTech SNAP Graphics and Danis506 IDE drivers.

Unlike most other OS/2 installations I’ve ever done, ECS

installed like a dream. It wasn’t completely as simple as a Windows

installation, but was easily in the same neighborhood as YAST installations

I’ve done with SuSe Linux. The only glitchy point with the ECS installation I

found was driver support. I had some network and sound card driver installation

problems. ECS has a wide variety of pre-installed drivers with it, but if you

consider it, you should make sure that your particular hardware is supported by

ECS or OS/2 before you install it. IBM still maintains a list

of drivers and so do some third

party sites

I’ve installed ECS 1.2 on an old HP Kayak with 512MB of RAM

and an 800Mhz Pentium III. No, that’s not state of the art hardware by any

means, but seeing as how ECS and OS/2 have lower hardware requirement to begin

with and OS/2 was designed originally for a 486 processor, I thought it was a

fair baseline machine. For testing purposes, I’ve also configured up a copy of

SuSe 10.0 on an identical box. When I do comparisons to Windows XP, I’m going to

give XP the benefit of the doubt by using my 2.8Ghz production


In the short couple of weeks I’ve been using ECS, I’ve become

attached to it. I’ll be updating you later about how it works as an Windows and

Linux alternative. So far, the only drawback in comparison to either of them is

the price. Linux of course is free. By virtue of being ‘included’ with almost

every PC, Windows XP is also ‘free’. 

eComStation 1.2 costs $224. That’s in line with Windows XP Professional,

but it’s still a big barrier.